The Room (video game)

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The Room
The room 2012 vg cover.png
Developer(s)Fireproof Games
Publisher(s)Fireproof Games
Team17 (Nintendo Switch)
Designer(s)Robert Dodd
Mark Hamilton
Writer(s)Oliver Reid-Smith
Composer(s)David Newby
Platform(s)iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
  • WW: September 2012
  • WW: 23 March 2013
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: 28 July 2014
Nintendo Switch
  • WW: 18 October 2018

The Room is a puzzle video game developed by Fireproof Games. The game was originally developed for the iOS platform and released in September 2012. The Android version debuted as part of a Humble Bundle in March 2013 and was subsequently released on Google Play. A free expansion for the title was released in August 2013. An enhanced version of the game was released for Microsoft Windows in July 2014, and for the Nintendo Switch in October 2018.

At the time of The Room's creation, Fireproof had been providing art assets for other publishers, and The Room reflects the studio's first attempt to make their own game, but with limited finances, focused on a mobile title with the goal of taking advantage of the platform's unique interface aspects. The Room presents the player with a series of strange puzzle boxes that feature a number of physical mechanisms. The player is challenged to figure out how to open each one – typically by undoing a series of locks – to access another puzzle box within it. The game uses a variety of motions enabled by mobile device touchscreens to simulate actions in real life, such as looking around the device, turning keys, and activating switches. Through the game, a story involving the research of an unnamed person into the fifth classical element, "null," which is described in notes found through the various box puzzles.

The Room has received positive reception, and the iOS version received several awards. The game has sold more than 6.5 million copies. Fireproof Games have since released four sequels to The Room, with total collective sales of 11.5 million by 2016.


A core puzzle element of The Room is a lens that allows the player to see secrets otherwise hidden. Here, the player must manipulate the camera view to match up the hidden number fragments to obtain a combination code.

The Room is a three-dimensional puzzle game. The game has a minimal story, in which the player is told by letters of a mysterious box in a room in a house; as the player solves the puzzles around the box, more notes from the same author – one who previously had solved the mystery of the box – are found, describing the box's use of an ethereal material called "Null", as well as showing the author slowly descending into madness.

On starting the game, the player is presented with the first of four puzzle boxes. The first box is offered as a tutorial to the game's controls, which demonstrate how to move around the box and interact with features of the box. The player has a small inventory for items like keys found in compartments in the box. A key inventory element is a special lens that, in-game, allows the player to see things made from the Null element that compose parts of the box. The lens can generally be equipped at any time to see these secrets, often requiring the player to manipulate the view to align secrets into a coherent symbol. The goal is to fully unlock each puzzle box, extracting a smaller but increasingly complex box within it.


Fireproof Games is a British development firm born out from six developers that had been working at Criterion Games on the Burnout racing series; together they decided to quit to form their own small team to provide outsourceable artwork to other developers. Their work was included in both LittleBigPlanet games, DJ Hero, and other racing titles like Split/Second and Blur.[1] They desired to get into developing their own game around 2012, but at that time, they found the costs of developing for a console or personal computer title were too high, and opted to go into mobile gaming which was cheaper to develop for; they also recognized that many mobile games developed by teams with experience in consoles and computers did not make great mobile games, often simply porting or cloning existing titles, and set out to prove that it was possible to make a good mobile game, something that "fit for this piece of hardware, for this audience", according to Fireproof Games cofounder Barry Meade.[2] With The Room, the goal was "to make the best iOS game we could, not just try to make a big console game for iOS", according to Meade.[1] They wanted to emphasise the use of the touchscreen of mobile devices in its own unique way, similar to the success of Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. At the same time, they wanted to create a game that would be immersive for the player, and had devised the appropriate touch controls to provide tactile responses that worked alongside their art and music assets to help towards this.[1]

Fireproof hired a programmer in January 2012 to create their own title, The Room; during its development, the game only took two of Fireproof's team, the rest of the company continuing to work on other outsourcing jobs.[1] The game was developed in the Unity game engine, mostly due to its very low costs, a financial limitation Fireproof had at the time.[2] Total development costs for the initial iPad version were estimated to be £160,000.[3] They early on hit on the idea of Asian puzzle boxes, which may have had hundreds of steps to be performed to open while having a degree of art and beauty in their creation.[2] Meade compared this to an early successful mobile title, Zen Bound, which, while it was a simple game without any challenge, "was really pleasant and beautiful to look at", according to Meade.[2] Initially planning on calling the game Puzzle Box, they crafted a playable demonstration within a few weeks of the idea, and then built out from there.[2] To achieve the tactile nature they wanted for the game, they made sure to include a physics engine so that all the moving parts of each puzzle had some type of weight, as Meade felt that simulated physical responses to direct touchscreen controls, "you've automatically wiped out this massive barrier to entry that people have", in contrast to using a game pad or controller.[2]

The game was initially created for Apple's iPad (compatible with iPad 2 upwards) and released in September 2012.[1] Fireproof also ported the game to work on the Apple iPhone 4s and newer models; however, at the time of its release, there was no way to indicate to users of the Apple App Store that the game would not work on the iPhone 4. For this reason, they created a free-to-play version, The Room Pocket on 3 December 2012, which included the first puzzle of The Room and the option to buy the rest of the game so that they would not draw ire of iPhone 4 users.[1][2] Meade said that as of 2018 The Room Pocket had more sales than The Room.[2]

An Android version of The Room was created for mobile devices as part of the Humble Mobile Bundle which was released on 26 March 2013.[4] A free expansion to The Room was released in August 2013 which updated the game with a new level and links the end of the first game to the sequel.[5] Fireproof developed a Microsoft Windows version that was released on 28 July 2014, providing support for mouse controls.[6] The Windows version was only planned once they had found the game successful on mobile, and it had to be rebuilt from the ground up, requiring a larger team, about half of their 14-person staff at the time, with a risk of how popular this version would be.[7]

A version of The Room was released for the Nintendo Switch on 18 October 2018 with publishing support of Team17, making its console debut. The game supports the same touchscreen controls from the mobile game, but uses the Switch's Joy-Con for playing the game in television mode. The Switch version includes improved graphics and the original game's DLC.[8][9][10]


The Room was met with "generally favorable reviews" for the iOS and Nintendo Switch, and "mixed or average" for PC, according to Metacritic.[11][12]


Fireproof Games broke even on the first week of release for the iPad version, allowing them to plan for the expansions and sequels, and to start to consider other projects. As of March 2013, The Room on iPad has sold over 1.4 million copies and near its initial release, ranked as one of the top-selling games on several iOS lists.[1] The free pocket version has been downloaded over 2.4 million times.[citation needed] By October 2016, The Room has sold more than 6.5 million units, and collectively, the three games in the series have sold more than 11.5 million copies.[3][20]


Upon its release The Room was featured as Apple's Editors choice across the world, going on to receive the coveted "Apple iPad Game of the Year 2012" and the BAFTA for best British video game. It won the following awards:

Date Award Category Ref.
2012 Apple Inc iPad Game of the Year [21]
BAFTA Best British Game [22]
Game Developers Choice Awards Best Handheld/Mobile Game [23]
The International Mobile Game Awards Excellence in Visuals [24]
TIGA Best Game Design [25]
New York Video Game Critics Circle Awards Best Mobile/iOS Game [26] Best Mobile Puzzle Game [27]
Gamezebo Best iPad Game [28]
Cnet Aus Best Mobile Game [29]


The Room was followed by several sequels: The Room Two, was released on iTunes on 12 December 2013 and on Steam.[30][31][32]

In 2014, Fireproof Games announced a third title, The Room Three which was released for mobile platforms in November 2015 and on Steam.[33][34]

A fourth game, The Room: Old Sins, was released on 25 January 2018.[35] It was released on Steam on 11 February 2021.[36]

A spin-off title, The Room VR: A Dark Matter was released exclusively for VR platforms on 26 March 2020.[37]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dredge, Stuart (23 January 2013). "Apple award sends iPad game The Room soaring past 1m sales". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Allen, Jennifer (29 January 2018). "How The Room devs succeeded on mobile, 'the only option left to us'". Gamasutra. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Wawro, Alex (21 October 2016). "Fire(proof) Sales: The Room games surpass 11.5M copies sold". Gamasutra. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  4. ^ Star, Michelle (27 March 2013). "The Room debuts on Android with Humble Bundle". CNET. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  5. ^ Nicholson, Brad (16 August 2013). "'The Room' receiving an epilogue in upcoming free update". Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  6. ^ McElroy, Justin (23 July 2014). "The Room, with enhanced decor, coming to PC next week". Polygon. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  7. ^ Walker, John (5 July 2016). "Interview: Fireproof Games On The Room, And The Journey From Mobile To PC". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Brilliant mystery box puzzler The Room makes its console debut on Switch this month". Eurogamer. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  9. ^ Lane, Gavin (18 October 2018). "The Room Review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  10. ^ Craddock, Ryan (4 October 2018). "Feature: Fireproof Games On Why Award-Winning Puzzler The Room Is Perfect For Switch". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b "The Room for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b "The Room (2012) for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  13. ^ "The Room". Metacritic.
  14. ^ "The Room review". Pocket Gamer.
  15. ^ Campbell, Nissa (26 September 2012). "'The Room' for iPad Review – A Beautiful Box of Mysteries". TouchArcade. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  16. ^ "The Room review". Edge. 28 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  17. ^ "The Room Review". MacLife. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Review: The Room". Slant Magazine. 19 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Review: The Room (PC)". Digitally Downloaded.
  20. ^ Futter, Mike. "Fireproof Games' The Room Series Sells 5.4 Million In 14 Months". Game Informer. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  21. ^ iPad Game of the Year 2012
  22. ^ Best British Game 2012
  23. ^ Best Handheld/Mobile Game 2012
  24. ^ Excellence in Visuals Archived 29 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Best Game Design 2012 Archived 19 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ The A Train Awards for Best Mobile Game
  27. ^ Best Puzzle Game 2012
  28. ^ Best iPad Game of 2012
  29. ^ Best Mobile game of 2012
  30. ^ Gilmour, James (5 April 2013). "Fireproof Games announces update and sequel to Apple's iPad GOTY The Room". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  31. ^ Futter, Mike (19 November 2013). "The Sequel To Fireproof Games' The Room Arrives In December". Game Informer. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  32. ^ "The Room 2 Launching on iPad December 12". IGN. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  33. ^ "A teaser image for The Room Three". Fireproof Games. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  34. ^ Totilo, Stephan (5 November 2015). "Nine Minutes Of The Room 3, An Excellent New Puzzle Game That's Best Unspoiled". Kotaku. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  35. ^ Wales, Matt (26 January 2018). "Brilliantly spooky puzzle box series The Room is back with Old Sins, and out now on iOS". Eurogamer. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  36. ^ "The Room 4: Old Sins on Steam". Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  37. ^ "The Room VR: A Dark Matter". FireproofGames. Retrieved 31 March 2020.

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